Summer is Sea Turtle Time in the Brunswick Islands

sea turtle Brunswick Islands

For many people the word “summer” evokes mental images of sandy beaches, gentle waves, glowing sunshine, pearly white sea shells and freshly caught seafood. While these classic coastal elements are key parts of a summer escape to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, locals and visitors alike know that the 45 miles of picturesque, uncrowded beaches bring in more than happy beachgoers each summer. For centuries, the beaches of North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands have been home to loggerhead sea turtles. These spectacular creatures travel great distances to lay their eggs along the shore from May to August, with hatchings happening July through October. Many visitors book their stays to have front row seats to this bit of maritime magic, making summertime sea turtle time in the Brunswick Islands. With so many ways to take part in the action, it is easy to see why!

Museum of Coastal Carolina

Turtle loving travelers can venture to Ocean Isle Beach for the Barrier Island Gallery at the Museum of Coastal Carolina. The museum shares The Legend of the Loggerhead with an exhibit featuring a sand dune model complete with mother loggerhead turtle laying a nest and hatchlings emerging from the nest. Visitors can walk through the dune to check out interior views of the nest and watch a video about the lifecycle of Ocean Isle Beach’s loggerhead turtles. With one of the largest dry aquariums on the East Coast, the Museum of Coastal Carolina also gives guests an opportunity to see life-size loggerhead turtles and other native wildlife displayed.

sea turtle exhibit

Turtle Talks

The Brunswick Islands has sea turtle protection organizations in Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach, Holden Beach, Oak Island, Caswell Beach and Bald Head Island. Many of the local sea turtle protection organizations offer free weekly family-friendly seminars, designed to share important information about loggerhead sea turtle protection efforts. These “Turtle Talks” are held in Holden Beach, Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach and Oak Island late spring through summer. With different locations and times throughout the summer season, there are plenty of opportunities to entertain and educate your family about these magnificent creatures during your stay in the Brunswick Islands.  Visit our calendar of events for details.

Turtle Talks – Holden Beach

Every Wednesday, June-August, 7:00 p.m.

Turtle Talks – Sunset Beach

Every Sunday, June 10-August 26, 7:00 p.m.

Turtle Talks – Ocean Isle Beach

Every Monday, May 28-September 3, 3:30 p.m.

Every Tuesday, May 29-August 28, 7:00 p.m.

Turtle Talks – Oak Island

Every Tuesday, June-August, 6:00 p.m.

baby sea turtles

Summer Internships

The Ocean Isle Beach Sea Turtle Protection Organization offers several week-long summer internships for middle and high school travelers ages 13-18. During this interactive experience, interns and their parents assist in monitoring sea turtle nests, collecting and logging sea turtle activity and by supporting visitor and resident awareness initiatives. Interested families can apply online. Insider tip: be aware of application deadlines to secure your spot on the sea turtle conservation team.

sea turtle nest

Visitor Tips for Sea Turtle Conservation

Sea turtles are a special part of the summer experience at North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. While sea turtle sightings are exciting, we all must do our part to support the loggerhead turtles’ journey and keep them returning to our beaches for the next 100 years. Check out our tips to creating a better beach environment for the sea turtles:

  1. Do not disturb a sea turtle as it makes its way to or from the ocean.
  2. Know how to spot a sea turtle nest and do not disturb. Nests will typically be numbered and marked by surrounding fencing.
  3. Lights may confuse the sea turtles, so avoid shining lights at the turtles and turn off all lights near the beach, including outdoor lighting.
  4. Be a responsible beachgoer and pick up all litter, fill in beach holes and remove your beach equipment.
  5. Avoid the use of flash photography in capturing a sea turtle sighting.
  6. Do not ever pick up a sea turtle.

For more information on ways to stay and how to plan a terrific turtle experience at North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, please visit www.NCBrunswick.com.

Eight Ways to Enjoy Shrimp in the Brunswick Islands

Shrimp Brunswick Islands

Sun, sand and seafood simply go hand in hand, and there is no better place to snag a signature shrimp dish than North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. No trip to the Brunswick Islands is complete without some coastal cuisine, and our charming beach towns are brimming with tasty dining spots serving up innovative and scrumptious shrimp creations. Foodies looking to come out of their shell to savor a delicious dining experience can check out the below shrimp seeking guide to the Brunswick Islands.

1. North Shore Shrimp Taco (Oak Island)

The dining scene at North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is as vibrant as the collection of coastal communities themselves. Here not only will you find classic seafood dishes, but also flavors from around the globe. Kai-Joes on Oak Island is serving up North Shore Shrimp Tacos. This international fusion dish features grilled shrimp, Asian slaw and a special Thai chili sauce.

Shrimp Burger Holden Beach Provisions2. Grilled Shrimp Burger (Holden Beach)

For a fresh spin on an American classic, check out the Grilled Shrimp Burger at Provision Company on Holden Beach. This waterfront dining spot can be reached by land or boat and is a popular spot for families looking to enjoy fresh seafood and scenic views.

3. Shrimp Flatbread (Southport)

Stop by Fishy Fishy Café in Southport for a fun waterfront dining experience overlooking both the yacht basin and beautiful coastal marsh. Fishy Fish Café offers a variety of local seafood dishes including a Shrimp Flatbread appetizer. The baked flatbread features basil pesto, sun dried tomatoes, balsamic reduction, caramelized onions, parmesan and goat cheese to perfectly combine signature shrimp flavors and a taste of Italy.

4. Grilled Shrimp (Ocean Isle Beach)

While grilling is a popular preparation for shrimp, Jinks Creek in Ocean Isle Beach is adding their own flavorful flare to this method. Be sure to try their take on Grilled Shrimp featuring wild caught North Carolina shrimp that are garlic and herb marinated and served with charred pineapple and tomato salsa.

5. Cape Fear Shrimp & Grits (Leland)

Few things are more Southern than shrimp and grits, and few places do them as well as the Cape Fear Seafood Company. Swing by and be sure to order their take on this Southern staple complete with shrimp, applewood bacon, tomatoes, scallions and mushrooms in a low country cream sauce and served over cheese grits.

Shrimp Po Boy6. New Orleans Style Shrimp Po Boys (Shallotte)

For a taste of jazzy Bourbon Street in the Low Country, stop by Inlet View Bar & Grill in Shallotte. This family-owned spot serves up freshly caught shrimp, straight from the family-owned boats. One of the many tasty treats on the menu is the New Orleans Style Shrimp Po Boy served with lettuce, tomato and creole remoulade on a Leidenheimer New Orleans-style bread.

7. Shrimp Bucket (Sunset Beach)

A food tour of the Brunswick Islands would not be complete with a low country classic found at Crabby Oddwaters in Sunset Beach. Crabby Oddwaters offers guests the option of a Shrimp Bucket which includes one full pound of locally caught shrimp, corn, new potatoes, sausage and drawn butter. This dish is definitely one for sharing with the whole family!

Calabash seafood8. Calabash-Style Fried Shrimp (Calabash)

There can be no list of must try shrimp dishes that doesn’t include Calabash-style fried shrimp. There is a reason the name of this picturesque fishing community may already evoke mental images of seafood dishes lightly breaded and fried to perfection. Visitors to the area are often surprised to learn that this popular and distinctive style of seafood is actually named after Calabash, NC.  To find dishes featuring infamous Calabash-style fried shrimp head to any of the delicious seafood restaurants in the town for an authentic Calabash dining experience.  As an added bonus, several of the town’s seafood restaurants feature outdoor waterfront dining.

No matter what you are craving, there is a culinary experience for you at North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. For more information on dining in the Brunswick Islands, please visit www.NCBrunswick.com.

Four Ways to Celebrate the 4th of July in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

Southport 4th of July

July 4th is a fabulous time to gather the family, pack the car and head to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. The sun is out, the temperatures are warm and there are plenty of exciting events and Independence Day celebrations happening all around our festive coastal community. Whether your trip is already on the calendar or you are looking for a reason to book, be sure to check out these four fun ways to celebrate the 4th of July with us.

1. NC 4th of July Festival and Fireworks

Join a Southport tradition with more than 200 years of history at the NC 4th of July Festival June 24-July 4, 2018. Since 1792 the town has celebrated our nation’s independence in style. The celebration has evolved from colonial times when ships fired their cannons into the harbor to the family-friendly spectacle it is today. The beloved annual festival attracts more than 50,000 people to Southport each year with events including a reading of the Declaration of Independence, concerts, a flag raising ceremony, mobile exhibits, more than 100 arts and craft booths, food vendors, a parade and more.  And it wouldn’t be a true 4th of July festival without fireworks! Cheer the end of another exciting 4th of July Festival with the annual fireworks display in Southport. The fireworks show will take place at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, July 4 over the glistening waterfront.  Come see why Coastal Living named Southport the “Best Beach Town in America for the Fourth of July”.

Oak Island Beach Day

2. NC 4th of July Beach Day

On June 30, 2018 the Brunswick Islands will welcome the return of the annual Beach Day on Oak Island. This day-long coastal jubilee is free to attend and offers the best in family-friendly beach entertainment. Activities include sand sculpture building, volleyball, skate boarding, volleyball, bocce ball contents, dozen of family contents, inflatables, rides, games and more. Swing by from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and see for yourself what makes Beach Day the perfect way to spend a summer day.

Ocean Isle Beach 4th of July Parade

3. Freedom Celebration and 4th of July Parade

For even more ways to experience a true Independence Day spectacular, head to Ocean Isle Beach for a Freedom Celebration. The fun starts with fireworks at the pier on July 3 around 8 p.m. and continues July 4 at 10 a.m. with a special parade. The parade brings creative and spirited families together as decorated floats, golf carts bicycle and walkers flood the streets. Parade participants will be judged and prizes awarded.

4. Calabash Independence Day Celebration and Fireworks

Celebrate Independence Day in Calabash with a fireworks show on the Calabash waterfront Wednesday, July 4th. Festivities will begin around 5 p.m. with food, games, silent auction, family fun, live music, and more. The evening will be capped off with fireworks beginning about 9:15 p.m.

For more information on festivals and activities at North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, please visit www.NCBrunswick.com/events.

Eight Free Things To Do in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

Caswell Beach Oak Island Lighthouse

Sometimes the best things in life are free, and that is no exception in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. This summer discover just how easy it is to go big on a budget in the Brunswick Islands. When you’re visiting, be sure to check out the below eight free activities that are sure to bring on the smiles without breaking the bank or sacrificing the fun factor.

1. Oak Island Lighthouse

Located on Caswell Beach, the Oak Island Lighthouse is a must-visit spot that proves it is possible to elevate your vacation experience at no added cost. The 153-foot structure is the last lighthouse built in North Carolina. While tours to the top of this 15-story beauty are free, friendly donations from visitors are always appreciated and help ensure that future travelers to the area will enjoy the scenic views awaiting atop the 131-step series of ships ladders.

Kindred Spirit Mailbox

 2. Kindred Spirit Mailbox

While walks along the beach are always a priceless perk of a coastal getaway, at the Brunswick Islands you can take a tranquil stroll to a tucked away mailbox full of secrets. Standing in the sands of beautiful Bird Island is the Kindred Spirit Mailbox. This mailbox to nowhere is a true hidden gem holding small notebooks full of the thoughts, dreams, wishes and prayers of wayward travelers. Walk along Bird Island and see the mailbox firsthand to soak in the magic and add your own musings to the ever-growing collection.

 

3. North Carolina Maritime Museum

Venture to Southport to visit one of the three maritime museums sponsored by the state of North Carolina. Visitors to the museum can dive into the rich history of the Cape Fear River region. The museum’s well curated collection tells the story of the region and covers shipwrecks, piracy, the Civil War, and other nautical adventures. While admission to the Maritime Museum is free, donations are appreciated.

Southport tour

 4. Self-Guided Tour of Southport

One authentic and charming way to explore the area is by foot. Spend less and see more with a self-guided tour starting at the Fort Johnston – Southport Museum & Visitors Center. Here maps and brochures that will lead your journey through historic Southport can be found. Stops include churches and homes dating back to the 1800s as well as landmarks like City Hall, the Old Brunswick Jail, Old Smithville Burial Grounds and River Pilots Tower. Southport, “American’s Happiest Seaside Town” as noted by Coastal Living, has been a beloved Brunswick Islands destination since the late 1700s. No stranger to the spotlight, Southport’s innately picturesque scenery has served as the backdrop to many popular films and TV shows such as Safe Haven, A Walk to Remember and The Secret Life of Bees.

Brunswick Town

5. Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson

History buffs will delight in a day trip to the Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson Historic Site. Admission is free and grants visitors access to tour and roam what is left of old Brunswick, a major pre-Revolutionary port on North Carolina’s Cape Fear River. Brunswick Town was razed by British troops in 1776. While the town was never rebuilt, during the Civil War, Fort Anderson was constructed on the old town grounds and functioned until the fall of the Confederacy. Today notable sites include the hulk of what was once Brunswick’s St. Philip’s Anglican Church and remains of a sea captain’s house used by royal governors.

sea turtle

 6. Turtle Talks

North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is home to unforgettable and wonderful wildlife experiences. Loggerhead sea turtles are known to frequent the area, and sometimes lucky visitors are able to catch a glimpse of a magnificent sea turtle gliding through the ocean waves or watch in awe as baby sea turtles make their way toward the sea. Many of the local sea turtle protection organizations offer free seminars, designed for the whole family, to share important information about protecting loggerhead sea turtles. These “Turtle Talks” can are held late spring through summer. See our calendar of events for details.

7. Summer Concerts

The ways to enjoy some free fun in the sun continue with summer concerts at North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. Starting in May through Labor Day week each of our beach communities hold live music performances that are free to enjoy and perfect for family members of all ages. Each community has their own schedule and performing artists change every week, so be sure to check out our calendar of events for more information on who will be playing during your stay.

Farmers Market

8. Farmers Market

In North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, it is easy to live like a local with summer outdoor farmers markets starting up in May. Many of our friendly beach communities host their own outdoor market, some located along the waterfront, offering fine artisanal goods, locally grown produce, baked goods, photography, pottery and other handcrafted items. While the fresh and local goodies are for sale, a stroll through one of our quaint farmers markets is a relaxing way to enjoy a morning at the beach.  See our calendar of events for locations and times.

For more information on things to do at North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, please visit www.NCBrunswick.com.

Get on Board in the Brunswick Islands

SUP NC's Brunswick Islands

Temperatures are heating up and there is no better place to cool down and make a splash than North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. Boasting 45 miles of pristine beaches as well as beautiful marshes, creeks and estuaries along the Intracoastal Waterway, the Brunswick Islands beckons visitors to kayak, paddle, surf and boat their way to an unforgettable vacation experience. With so many ways to suit up and explore, aquatic adventure seekers will find getting on board with the Brunswick Islands is a breeze!

Kayaking NC's Brunswick Islands

Kayak

Experienced and amateur kayakers alike will revel in the incredible opportunities for sightseeing and adventure in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. While the crashing waves of our beautiful beaches draw guests year after year, the miles of salt marsh creeks and rivers as well as the Intercoastal Waterway await exploration. Individual kayak rentals and guided tours are available to help visitors gear up and get on the water. Whether chasing the colorful sunset, watching for native wildlife, stargazing or just looking to get active, kayaking through the Brunswick Islands promises to be a unique and unforgettable aquatic experience.

 Paddleboarding

Paddle

Visitors can put balance and coordination to the test by trying stand-up paddle boarding (SUP). The smooth channels of the Intracoastal Waterway, creeks and island canals are perfect for renting a board and getting out on the water. Stand up and paddle your way through stunning coastal North Carolina scenery, or kick things up a notch by trying a hand at SUP yoga. The Carolina School of Surf offers SUP yoga classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced athletes.

 

Surf

Those with a need for speed and seeking a faster-paced adventure are welcome to head straight into the surf with their board to catch a wave and show off their skills. Never tried surfing? Not a problem! Several local outfitters offer surf lessons suited for all ages and skill levels. The combination of our gentle sloping beaches allowing for waves to break softly and the relatively smaller waves seen in the area make the Brunswick Islands the perfect location to get on a surf board and learn a new skill.

 Boating NC's Brunswick Islands

Boat

The peaceful and spectacular Brunswick Island waterways can also be traveled by boat. Local charters and water taxis are available for visitors looking for a relaxing guided aquatic excursion. Fishermen both experienced and new will find many fishing charter options available. Additionally, visitors with their own boat, kayak or paddleboard can find free public ramps and launch sites throughout the Brunswick Islands for easy access to all the wonderful waterways waiting to be discovered.

North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is home to a number of expert adventure outfitters that can provide equipment, training and guide services for your next aquatic adventure. Get on board and discover just how many ways you can explore the tranquil coastal waters during your next visit to the Brunswick Islands.

For more information on attractions and activities at North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, please visit www.NCBrunswick.com.